Car sales in China, now the world’s biggest car market, rebounded in August as subsidies for energy-efficient vehicles and a stronger currency spurred demand, while at the same time sales in the USA faltered.
Chinese sales rose 55.7% compared to 2009 to 1.21 million vehicles, up from 1 million vehicles in July, the Cabinet’s China Automotive Technology and Research Center said.
The increase compared with 17% year-on-year growth in July and 19.4% in June.
The upbeat news on Chinese car sales contrasted sharply with figures from the US which endured their worst August since 1983, down 5 percent from July at about 997,000 units. General Motors, Toyota, Honda and Ford all reported declines from the month before and from a year earlier.
Beijing is offering subsidies of 3,000 yuan (£287) a vehicle for fuel-efficient cars and small trucks and sales of energy saving vehicles rose 32% to 129,600, the China Automotive Technology and Research Centre said in a report posted on its website.
Demand was also relatively strong for imported vehicles, as Japanese and European car manufacturers increasingly focus on serving the market for smaller, affordable cars and a recent rise in the value of China’s currency has also stimulated sales of imported cars.
The rebound in sales is good news for global car manufacturers looking to China to drive sales amid weak demand in other parts of the world. Sales this year are forecast to grow by no more than 20%, well off 2009’s 45% rise.
GM reported that its sales in China rose 19.2% in August from the year before to 181,625 units, with sales for the first eight months of 2010 at 1.5 million units.
In the US, both GM and Ford’s sales reduced 11% in August from the year before, while Toyota saw sales fall 34%.